Glossary – golf course

Glossary of golf names and terms relating to a golf course. Items are listed alphabetically.

To find a sought word:
– use any search function (e.g. Ctrl+F in Windows, Find in Page in Androd, Find on Page in iOS etc.),
– select desired letter range in the Index (below)
– or just scroll down.


A-C   .   D-F   .   G-N   .   O-P   .   R-Z



Abnormal Course Condition
Poor physical conditions on a golf course: casual water, ground under repair or a hole or the cast from a hole made by a burrowing animal, a reptile or a bird.
more about abnormal course condition …


An area of grass in front of the putting green where the fairway transitions into the green. It is usually cut to a height about halfway between green and fairway heights.
more about putting green …


Back Nine
The second 9 holes² (no 10-18) on an 18 hole course. Other names: Inward Nine, In.


Ball Mark
A depression (and/or a tear) in the green surface that a ball makes when it hit the ground on its approach shot. Other name: Pitch Mark.
see the picture …


Ballmark Repair Tool see Pitchfork


Birdie book
An hole-by-hole accurate map for a golf course. It contains all the necessary background information on all the holes, including locations and distances to key points (landing zones, penalty areas, greens etc).


Depression in the ground filled in with sand or a similar material. Bunker is one of the five areas of the course defined by Rules.
more about bunkers …


Casual Water see Temporary Water


A ring of grass around the putting green that is slightly higher than the grass on the green.
more about putting green …


The collection of holes². A standard, “full-sized” golf course consists of 18 holes.
more about course …


Cup see Hole¹


A piece of turf and grass that a golf club cuts out of the ground, usually on fairway. Divot refers also to the “divot hole” left where the turf was gouged out.
see the picture …


A hole² in which the fairway bends to the left or to the right at some turning point along its length. Dogleg can be par-4 or par-5 hole. The bend can be in the range between 20 and 90 degrees. If a fairway bends twice the hole is called a double dogleg.


Dropping, Drop Zone (DZ)
Special areas established on the golf course to drop a ball when proceeding in accordance with other Rules is not feasible or practicable. Dropping zones are provided as a mandatory or an additional relief option to those available under the Rules regarding:
penalty area (most popular case),
abnormal ground conditions and immovable obstruction (sometimes),
– wrong putting green or ball unplayable (rare).
The local rules describe how the zones are marked/identified.
more about dropping zone …


Extreme Rough
Areas on the golf course covered with high grass (unmowed or cut to the length longer than 5 – 6 inches), weeds, underbrush or/and other foliage, which make it likely the ball will be lost.
more about rough …


The closely mown area that is the main intended pathway of play from the tee to the green. It is the target for shots on all holes² other than par 3s. Fairways are mowed at heights between 0.25 and 0,75 inch.
more about fairway …


Fairway Markers
Poles that indicate the center of the fairway and assist in selecting the line of play, especially when visibility of the landing zone or green is restricted. Often, but not always, they indicate also distance to front or center of the green (target points, colors and units are determined by local rules).
Usually markers denotes 100, 150 and 200 yards or meters to the green. Alternatively distance to the green can be indicated by distance markers on the side of the fairway.
see the picture …


First Cut
The rough directly bordering the fairway that is cut higher than the fairway but lower than the regular rough. Other name: Inna nazwa: Intermediate Rough.


A stick with a flag on it placed on putting green to mark the location of the hole¹.
see the picture…


A collar or apron.
more about putting green …


Front Nine
The first 9 holes² (no 1 – 9) of an 18 hole golf course. Other names: Outward Nine, Out.


The direction in which the individual blades of grass is growing / laying on a green.


An area on a golf course covered with very short grass containing the hole¹ into which the ball must be played.
more about putting green …


Ground Under Repair (GUR)
A part of the golf course so declared in local rules or marked by blue stakes and/or line on the ground. The Committee may make a local rule prohibiting play from ground under repair. Stakes and lines are inside the ground under repair. A ball is in ground under repair when it lies in or any part of it touches the ground under repair.
more about ground under repair …


An area of the golf course (not bunker or penalty area) on which no grass is growing.


(before 1st January 2019) Any bunker or water hazard.


A hole (cup) in the ground on each green, into which player is trying to place his golf ball. The hole¹ is 4¼ inches (108 mm) in diameter and at least 4 inches (101,6 mm) deep.
more about holes …


An unit of a golf course. It always begins at the teeing area and ends at the green. Other parts of a hole are: the fairway, the rough and penalty areas.
more about holes …


Immovable obstruction
An artificial object on the course that cannot readily be moved.


Intermediate Rough see First Cut


Lateral Water Hazard
(before 1st January 2019) A water hazard that is alongside or perpendicular to the line of play. Lateral water hazards are defined by the use of red stakes or red lines. Stakes and lines are part of the hazard. A ball is in the hazard when it lies within the hazard or when any part of it touches the hazard. See also Penalty Area.
more about penalty area …


No Play Zone
An area protected for environmental, historical or players’ safety reasons, entry into and/or play from which is prohibited.  It may be defined as ground under repair or penalty area. The relief procedure is described in local rules.
more about no play zone …


OB see Out of Bounds


Out of Bounds (OB)
The area outside of the golf course limits or designated by the committee, in which play is not allowed. Usually defined by a fences, roads, paths or white stakes and lines. Boundary elements, stakes and lines are out of bounds. A ball is out of bounds when all of it lies out of bounds.
more about OB …


Penalty Area (PA)
(since 1st January 2019) Any body of water on the course, marked or not, (e.g. sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch, open watercourse) and any other part of the course defined by the Committee. There are two different types of penalty areas: yellow and red. These areas are marked with red or yellow stakes (and/or lines) respectively. Stakes and lines are part of the area. A ball is in the penalty area if it lies within the area or when any part of it touches the area.
more about penalty areas …


Permanent Markers, Permanent Tee  Markers
Indicating elements, permanently attached to the ground, reflecting an average placement of the movable tee markers. They indicate the start point of each hole² used during course rating procedure. The colored movable tee markers must be placed so that the length of the hole (from the tee marker to the center of the green) does not differ from the measured length by more than 10 yards / meters.


Pin see Flagstick


A small fork-like tool used for repairing the putting green surface. Other name: Ballmark Repair Tool.


Pitch Mark see Ball Mark


Putting Green see Green


Areas that frames the fairway or green and feature higher grass or naturally growing vegetation. It is designed to be punitive to players who miss the fairway or the green. The rough can vary in height and thickness depending on its location on the course, but usually is mowed at height between 1 and 4 inches.
more about rough …


Sand Trap
The casual name of a bunker.


An inclined surface of the ground, especially on a green.


Colored posts that define and mark the boundaries of designated areas of the golf course. The color of stake indicates the type of area:
White stakes indicate out of bounds.
Yellow stakes indicate a yellow penalty area.
Red stakes indicate a red penalty area.
Blue stakes indicate a ground under repair.
Green stakes indicate a no play zone.
Blue stakes with Green tops indicate a no play zone that is treated as ground under repair with mandatory relief.
Red stakes with Green tops indicate a no play zone that is treated as red penalty area with mandatory relief.


A little wooden or plastic peg on which a golf ball is placed prior to hitting the first shot (tee shot) on a hole.
see the picture…


The casual name of the area at the start of each hole² from which golfers hit the first shot (tee shot) on the hole: teeing area or tee box.
more about teeing area …


Tee box
An area where one or several sets of tee markers are grouped together.
more about tee boxes …


Tee marker
The object that indicates the forward boundary of the teeing area. Tee markers are usually made of wood or plastic and they are colored, but there is no standard for colors.
more about teeing area …


Tee time
The particular time at which a group of golfers are scheduled to start their round of golf.


Teeing Area, Teeing Ground
The place from which golfer plays the first stroke on each hole². It is a rectangular area two club-lengths in depth, the front and the sides of which are defined by the outside limits of two tee markers.
more about teeing area …


Temporary Water
Any temporary, visible on the surface accumulation of water on the course, that is not designated as a penalty area.


Waste Bunker
An unmaintained, natural or sandy area on a golf course. It is not covered with grass, but some vegetation, rocks or pebbles might exist in it. Waste bunkers are not penalty areas under the Rules of Golf and they are usually specified in local rules. Other name: Waste Area.
more about bunkers …


Water Hazard
(before 1st January 2019) Any sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course (whether or not containing water) and anything of a similar nature on the course. Water hazards (other than lateral water hazard) are defined by the use of yellow stakes or yellow lines. Stakes and lines are part of the hazard. A ball is in the hazard when it lies within the hazard or when any part of it touches the hazard. See also Penalty Area.
more about penalty areas …



back to: Golf Course

update: January 2021